While the number of small-scale tech support shops and companies is steadily on the rise, Best Buy’s Geek Squad has been the mainstay of the tech support scene for as long as I can remember. That does not at all mean that Geek Squad is the best among them. No, in fact, the truth is, Geek Squad is far from it. It has been blighted by allegations of employing incompetent techs at its outlets with customers often complaining of being coerced to buy garbage software packages by the sales personnel.
Well, it appears that Geek Squad has some serious competition now even if the competition is on the form of a startup. Eden, a startup which aims to provide everyone with on-demand home tech support, just secured another $1.2 million in a funding round yesterday. Why is Eden such a potent threat?
The founder of the company believes that instead of customers coming to tech pros, tech pros should go to the customers. The company say that nearly 200,000 tech pros are employed by Geek Squad or other small tech shops but customers are not always willing to visit them, line up and wait. They believe people should be relieved of the hassle of traveling and waiting if they only require simple assistance.
This is exactly why Eden’s main target market will be people above the age of 50, people who usually need guidance with most aspects of technology. A recent point of slight controversy has been the 1099 vs W2 employment debate. Eden hires its techies under the 1099 employment model which means the employees are considered ‘self-employed’. Eden cofounder Josh de Buey says he’s seriously considering shifting over all employees to a W2 contract. Even Hillary Clinton has waded into the 1099 vs W2 debate.
The nature of the service that Eden provides is such that its position in the whole situation can best be described as precarious. Currently Eden carges its customer $69/hr while Eden techies get $30/hr. The jobs they do range from setting up a WiFi network to fixing iPhones and installing Nest thermostats. We’re hoping they can carry on doing the good work.